15 days Sichuan-Tibet Hwy northern route tour
This is one of the two main routes of Sichuan-Tibet Highway which links the Tibetan areas of Western Sichuan with mainland Tibet. This route is longer than the southern route but less affected by rain during summer.
The journey goes through the wild, mountainous and remote Tibetan areas of Western Sichuan, you will be amazed to see that Tibetan culture is in many ways better preserved here. The route offers an insight to the rich culture, costume and tradition of Khampa people and their lifestyle, monasteries are unavoidable part of their day to day life and from there you will feel their faith in religion. Moreover, the high altitude grasslands in the northern area is the home for thousands of Tibetan nomads and their animals, the black and short yak wool made nomads tents are can be visited if there are not far from the road. This journey could be very tough and challenging, due to its geographical remoteness and poor infrastructure and facilities.
(Note: Due to the closure of Chamdo - the capital city of Chamdo Prefecture to foreign tourists, this travel route is not available currently. We suggest you consider to make the overland trip to Lhasa Tibet from Chengdu along the Sichuan-Tibet Southern Highway - the G318, the TTB has announced its openning for foreign tourists since this spring 2017).
Chengdu airport picking up, check in and have a good rest. Overnight at Chengdu.
Morning drive to Kangding, go through Mt. Er'lang Tunnel, along Da-Chu river. Upon arrival at Kangding, explore this town on your own, enjoy the mountain scenery and Buddha curvings on the hillsides. After dinner, enjoy a soak in the hot springs at Erdaoqiao if you like. Overnight at Kangding Serja Angpa Hotel (Twin-room with private bath based on 3 star standard hotel).
Today some part of the road is badly damaged and in a worse situation. Morning cross over Zheduo (4200m) Mountain, reach Xinduqiao, the ' the heaven for photographers', here you will see typical Tibetan houses, small streams, herds of sheep & yaks on the grasslands, snow capped mountain ranges in a distance etc. After Xinduqiao, drive about 40KM to Tagong, visit Tagong monastery, enjoy the impressive snow peaks of Mt. Yalha (5820m) and Paojiashan (5400m). Afternoon upon arrival at Bamei, visit the distinguished village and traditional Tibetan.
Morning drive to the Gathar Chodestery, about 11km to the east and visit the monastery, it is renowned Gelug pa monastery, which formerly housed 300 monks, was founded in the 18th century by 7th Dalai Lama Kalsang Gyatso, and its construction was sponsored by Emperor Qinglong of the Qing Dynasty, and 11th Dalai Lama was also born at here. From the monastery have a great view of the grassland meadow scenery in Bamei. Then drive back to
Bamei and continue to Daofu, Daofu is very famous for its local residences, white-painted wall, crimson column and exquisite carved windows, it is worthwhile to visit inside, the local houses are well decorated with skillful wood-carvings and paintings, After Daofu, drive about 72Km further along Xianshui River to reach Luhuo, visit Drango Gompa, which is overlooking the whole Luhuo Town. Overnight at Kasa Hotel.
Drive from Luohuo to Ganzi, about 20km from Ganzi, pay a visit to Kasa lake. Ganzi is an important city on the northern Sichuan - Tibet road, in the afternoon you will be arranged to visit Ganze Monastery and some other small monasteries around. Mighty snow-capped peaks are overlooking to town in the south. Overnight at Ganzi Golden Yak Hotel.
Drive from Ganzi to Manigango, around 13km after Manigange is Yilhun La-tso (Xinluhai), a stunning, holy alpine lake bordered by chortens and dozens of rock carvings. Then driving over the Chola pass (5050m) and you will have a chance see the huge glaciers of 6018m Chola Range. Arrival at Derge to visit Derge Parkhang (Scripture Printing Press) and Monastery. Overnight at Derge Chola Hotel.
Drive from Derge to Chamdo via Jomda, you enter the TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region) after crossing the Jinsha river , by the bridge over it and several high passes lead you to Chamdo. Overnight at Chamdo.
Chamdo is the major transport, administrative and trade centre of the Kham region. In the morning visit Jampaling Monastery on the hilltop, do pilgrimage circumambulation. Then drive to Riwoche, cross over the Zholpel La pass (4688m), this part of the road is recently built but still in a fair condition. Overnight at Riwoche.
Morning visit Riwoche Monastery Tsuglhakhang, then drive on a rough road to Tengchen. Tengchen is the center of the Bon-Religion, which is a primitive religion, based on ancient witchcraft and worship to god and ghost, and was spread through the whole Tibet before the Buddhism was introduced into Tibetan area. Visit Tengchen and Ritro Chakhang Monastery. Overnight at local best hotel.
After master Tsuri La Pass (4200m) and Shel La Pass (4750m) we arrive at Bachen, and continue about 30km you will reach Sok. Sok means Mongolia in Tibetan. Overnight at Sok.
Morning drive to Sok Tsanden Zhol village, visit Nyimpa sect monastery Sok Tsanden Gompa(sometimes it is impossible to visit this monastery). After that cross over two passes and reach the city of Shakchuka. Then another 100km with two passes, you will reach Nakqu. Overnight at Qiangtang Telecom Hotel.
Morning drive on the vast Qiangtang grassland to Namtso, the northern grassland is homeland for the nomads and herds of domestic animals are can be seen along the road, short and cosy black tents are scattered throughout the plain, then from Damshong after crossing the 5150m high Nagenla pass you see the first view of Namtso Chukmo Lake. Afternoon free walking around the Tashi Do Peninsula. Tashi dor Monastery. Overnight at Namtso tent guest house.
Morning after the sunrise at Namtso, start drive back to Lhasa, en route stop at Yangpachen for hot-spring, newly built hotspring swimming poll is good for get relief by soaking in it. Overnight at Lhasa New Mandala Hotel.
Today is your first day of sightseeing on the high plateau, so we have purposely arranged only to visit Jokhang temple and Potala Palace. Jokhang temple is the most scared shrine in Tibet which was built in 7th century and located at the heart of old town in Lhasa, the circuit around it called Barkhor street, which is a good place to purchase souvenirs. Potala Palace is the worldwide known cardinal landmark of Tibet. The massive structure itself contains a small world within it. Mostly it is renowned as residence of the Dalai Lama lineages (Avalokiteshvara). Both of them are the focal points of pilgrims from entire Tibetan world, multitudinous pilgrims are circumambulating and prostrating in their strong faith. Overnight at Lhasa.
Today you will be arranged to visit Drepung, Sera monasteries and Summer Palace - Norbulingka palace. Both Drepung and Sera monasteries are Gelugpa (yellow hat) sect monastic colleges. Drepung monastery was the seat of the Government prior to Potala, it was once the world largest monastery in the history with 10,000 monks hailed from different monasteries all over Tibet. Sera monastery is famous for its Buddhism philosophical debate practice, the clapping sound and aggressive expression of the monks are well worth to see. Norbulingka is the summer palace of Dalai Lama, you can visit the residences of different lineages of the Dalai Lama. The park is crowded with picnickers and traditional activities during the Shoton (Yogurt festival) in August. Overnight at Lhasa.
Your guide and driver will see you off at the airport or train station, end of the trip.